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News Report

Beijing Rail Transit Accepting Digital Renminbi Payments in Pilot Program

2 mins
Updated by Kyle Baird

In Brief

  • Beijing Rail Transit starts accepting digital renminbi on a pilot basis.
  • Users with an ICBC account will be able to swipe at the transit gates to make payments.
  • China is well into its effort to integrate the CBDC at many levels of its economy.
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The Beijing Rail Transit has launched a pilot program that accepts the country’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) for payments. The digital renminbi can now be used to pay for tickets on multiple railway lines.

The Beijing Rail Transit has launched a pilot program for the acceptance of the digital renminbi as payment. The pilot program is yet another one in the long list of such programs that the Chinese government is carrying out.

Users with a bank account with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) will be able to swipe at the transit gates to make the payment. The ICBC is one bank with a high degree of focus on introducing the digital renminbi to customers. It’s already working on offering bitcoin exchange services at ATMs in Beijing.

The payment system makes use of the Yitongxing app and works with 24 railway lines at the Beijing Rail Transit system, in addition to four suburban railways. Calling the experience “an important manifestation of social responsibility,” the notice says that the Beijing Rail Transit will continue to look at new use cases for the digital renminbi, including more ticket sales and use at gates.

With the use of the CBDC on public transport systems, it may not be long before China sees a much larger level of adoption in the next few months. Officials have already touted the benefits of the digital currency and consequently have taken multiple steps towards digitizing the economy.

China’s CBDC seeing a wide-scale implementation

China is well into its effort to integrate its CBDC at many levels of its economy. The country has already launched pilot programs in several districts to test the currency at the retail level, with these programs handing out the CBDC to a random selection of users. Officials have said that these tests have proven successful, which is not altogether surprising, as Chinese citizens are quite tech-savvy.

The country’s central bank is also testing cross-border payments and wholesale payments initiatives, which could see more news by the end of the year. No concrete date has been offered yet with respect to the official launch, but a 2022 release would not be out of the question.

Authorities have spoken positively of the results, which speaks to why there has been an increased number of trials across multiple verticals. Hong Kong’s Finance Minister also alluded to CBDC tests in the region, after having noted the public’s desire for digital payment systems.


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